When my daughter was born a few years ago, my husband and I had this tradition with her every day in those beginning months. We would dim the lights and massage her daily, playing relaxing music in the background and we would light a lavender oil lamp. The running joke was how she went to the spa everyday. But we noticed how she slept well, had good digestion, and how special it felt to bond with her that way. The benefits, (as stated by Maharishi Ayurveda), of Abhyanga oil massage are:
This Ayurvedic therapy is not only for your little ones, it is quite amazing to share with a partner or loved one plus allows for a special connection within the relationship. It's great to choose edible oils since those are the safest.
Coconut Oil: It contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which helps prevent skin infections. It's also a natural sunscreen.
Almond Oil: It contains Vitamin E making it an excellent emollient, alleviates dry skin and can help soothing, itching and inflammations caused by eczema and dermatitis. If you have allergies to it though then avoid this oil.
Mustard Oil: It is beneficial in prevention of skin infections, but beware it is a little smelly.
Ghee: The core of Ayurveda lies in this purified butter. So healing and nourishing!
Sesame Oil: It is good for balance, plus helps sleep patterns.
Jojoba Oil: Light and mild and great for if you are concerned about allergy or irritations.
Olive Oil: This is edible so it is fine to use, and used by many, but research says not to use it on young babies since it strips the delicate skin barrier, however many midwives suggest it.
Grapeseed Oil: Some people use this as well, but there isn't much nutrient value for massage, (but great in cooking!)
Avocado Oil: It is mild and nourishing, it's semi-fatty and rich in lecithin and vitamins, including A, B, and D. It's ideal for relieving itchy skin.
Sunflower Oil: It contains linoleic acid, vitamin A, D and E and helps with bruising. If there is an oil you find that is labeled for adult massage such as scented ones, it is best to avoid those in children.
Ideally, you want to do this massage after a bath or before sleep. And you should avoid it during a high fever. Also be sure the room is comfortable, keep it warm but not too hot and even add relaxing elements like calming energy stones and dim lights.
Use asqueeze bottle with the oil of your choice or place in a small bowl. Take the small bowl or squeeze bottle and put in a larger bowl of hot water to warm the oil slightly. Be sure it is not too hot by testing it prior to using. Have your partner or child lay comfortably on a blanket or towel while massaging, on a massage table or bed.
You can start from head and move down to the feet or opposite. You can give a gentle massage to the scalp on infants but be mindful of the Fontanelle areas, as well as avoiding the eyes. On adults, the scalp massage feels amazing and is super beneficial. Use long strokes for the arms and legs and circular strokes for the joints, back, chest and abdomen.
For the stomach, do the circles clockwise to follow the intestines. Always spend extra time on the feet since this can aid in sound sleep and relaxation. Beware- you and your loved ones might just get addicted to this amazing therapy!
And this is just one of the many therapies the ancient science of Ayurveda holds to nourish and rejuvenate the body which is why the movement started by Ancient Health Care plans to get the information about Ayurveda to the masses.